Saturday, February 17, 2007

Community Benefits for Whom?

An article in this week's NY Observer is brutally honest about a number of development issues as well as entertaining:

Mr. Bollinger’s Battle

Atlantic Yards:

- “Ratner and the city got together with one big, national not-for-profit and a set of local sycophants and put something together which doesn’t seem to have satisfied too many people, except for those who are benefiting directly from it,” Mr. Reyes-Montblanc, the chairman of Community Board 9, said.

Yankee Stadium:

- The point was to avoid the conflicts of interest that were apparent when Bronx City Council members negotiated a “community-benefits program” with the Yankees that called for, among other things, a $32 million charitable trust fund that would be indirectly controlled by the same elected officials who negotiated the deal.

Columbia University:

- “The problem with having elected officials on the local development corporation is that one of the constituents they represent is Columbia University,” Mr. DeMott said. “There is immense potential here, but there is also immense potential to get screwed.”

- The university softens up the local development-corporation members with enough well-meaning promises that a majority of them would overlook the eminent-domain issue. The City Council takes its cue from the local development corporation and approves the land-use changes that Columbia needs to turn an industrial slum into gleaming scientific laboratories.


Photo from Wikipedia


Anonymous said...

I am glad this truth is getting out. The politicians are served notice that no longer will the public accept everything they say.

Plans, no matter how egregious, were always ok when they would toss around 'affordable housing,' or 'community facilities' or 'community' boards and the like (any posters to this board want to add their favorites)?

The point is with the internet and blogs as this, people are getting wise. You can only use the same phrase so many times with scant promise fulfilled before people become insensitive and tune you out.

This is already happening.

Anonymous said...

Follow the money! When politicos serve the interests of developers, be it NYU, Columbia, etc. there must be additional benefits in it for them.